Planned FY 2018 DISA Technology Investments - Part 1

Posted by Alexander Rossino on June 20, 2017

Deltek Forecasts Defense Agency IT Spending Will Remain Weak Through 2021

Ever since the announcement of the Joint Information Environment (JIE), the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has played an increasingly central role in providing information technology capabilities to the Department of Defense. DISA’s focus areas have included, among others, standing up the Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS), establishing Cloud Access Points (CAPs), and providing advanced analytics to monitor and defend the DoD’s networks. Given the importance of DISA to the DoD’s technology ecosystem, today’s post will be the first in a four-part series exploring the  Procurement and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) dollars that DISA intends to invest in projects with cloud computing, big data, and/or cyber security dimensions in fiscal Year 2018.

An analysis of DISA’s FY 2018 Procurement and RDT&E budget documentation for keywords and terms related to the specific technologies yielded the numbers here. Unfortunately, the granularity of the data does not always go into spending specific to cloud, big data, and cyber, so the numbers provided should be considered approximate. In addition, the fact that some programs might contain all three technologies means that the requested funding for those programs has been included in total under each technology area.

The chart below provides an overview of the combined Procurement and RDT&E spending DISA requested for FY 2018 separated by technology area.

Spending in all three areas has risen since FY 2016. DISA expects, however, that only its spending on programs with a cyber-related component will rise from FY 2017 to FY 2018. Growth in DISA’s spending on cyber reflects its growing role as the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Networks, or JFHQ-DoDIN. Established in FY 2015, the JFHQ-DoDIN provides command and control for the DoD’s Information Networks globally. It’s cyber responsibilities are largely defensive in nature as compared to the teams spread across the military departments and at U.S. Cyber Command.

Concerning DISA’s cyber-related funding request in FY 2018, it comes in at +13.1% higher than the total requested in FY 2017, and 59.7% higher than what DISA requested in FY 2016.

Big data-related efforts at DISA do not fare quite as well, with requested budgets falling -3.3% from FY 2017 to FY 2018. At $118M, however, the funding going to big data-related work still comes in +14.6% higher than the funding requested in FY 2016.

Cloud computing-related projects too will see a decline of -6% compared to the funding enacted in FY 2017. In all, cloud-related projects will see growth of +59.2% from funding received in FY 2016.

Summing up, cyber-related programs will see the most funding at DISA in FY 2018, followed by those with a cloud component, then those with a big data component. It is perhaps useful to remember at this point that many of DISA’s cyber programs leverage cloud and big data technology to achieve their objectives, so rising spending on cyber will also go for solutions like advanced analytics and cloud-enabled systems. Next week’s post will provide as much detail on those cyber investments as is available, followed by cloud projects, and then big data investments in the weeks thereafter.